Great Southern projects on track with $380,000 trails boost

Sarah MakseAlbany Advertiser
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Outdoors Great Southern executive director Lenore Lyons and Labor MLA Rebecca Stephens.
Camera IconOutdoors Great Southern executive director Lenore Lyons and Labor MLA Rebecca Stephens. Credit: Kellie Balaam

A program to train volunteers to care for the region’s expanding trail network and a project to preserve the Noongar stories of sites along Great Southern trails will be kickstarted with a $380,000 boost from the State Government.

Outdoors Great Southern — formerly GSCORE — received a Lotterywest grant last week to bolster two trail projects set to start later this year as part of the Great Southern Regional Trails Master Plan.

The master plan, launched last year by the Great Southern’s 11 local governments, aims to transform the region into WA’s premium trail destination by 2030.

The plan identified 14 priority trail projects to be delivered within the next decade, including 12 new trail networks and urgent enhancements of two existing trails.

Outdoors Great Southern executive director Lenore Lyons said the grant would support a pilot trail carers program aiming to empower community volunteers to take part in basic trail maintenance in their community.

The pilot program will start with a volunteer trail care crew attending to maintenance at Bald Head trail in Torndirrup National Park and across other City of Albany trails.

Dr Lyons said they hoped the pilot program would eventually expand across the region.

“The project aims to foster a sense of community connection and belonging for an active and engaged group of volunteers with a shared a sense of purpose,” she said.

“It’s a way to reconnect people with each other and with the outdoors, reducing social isolation while improving the quality of the trails experience.”

Dr Lyons said the new funding would also support enhancements to existing trails and construction of two new trails along the Great Southern Treasures Bobtail Trail.

The trail spans 10 Great Southern shires incorporating 25 hiking, paddling and cycling sites.

The organisation aims to work with Indigenous elders from each region to preserve the history of each area through signage.

“The grant will enable a community oral history project engaging seniors and Aboriginal elders in recording local stories to be displayed on interpretive signage along that route,” Dr Lyons said.

Albany MLA Rebecca Stephens said the projects would actively bring the community together to document the heritage of the region and preserve its trails.

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